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Statehouse

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 17th

The 10 University of Kansas students currently participating in the school's study abroad program in Japan are being required to return home. KU spokeswoman Jill Jess says that rules governing the program are clear:The State Department's travel warning was issued Wednesday, prompted by growing concern about health risks that might be posed by radiation leaking from a complex of Japanese nuclear power plants. Kansas State University has two students currently participating in its study abroad program in Japan. Karli (CARL-ee) Webster, director of the K-State Study Abroad Program, says the...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 17th

The 10 University of Kansas students currently participating in the school's study abroad program in Japan are being required to return home. KU spokeswoman Jill Jess says that rules governing the program are clear:The State Department's travel warning was prompted by growing concern about health risks that might be posed by radiation leaking from a complex of Japanese nuclear power plants. Kansas State University has two students currently studying in Japan. Karli (CARL-ee) Webster, director of K-State's Study Abroad program, says the school is NOT requiring its students to return home at...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 17th

The Kansas House today (THUR) rejected a bill that would have made permanent last year’s sales tax increase. Last session, the Legislature increased the state sales tax from 5.3 to 6.3 percent, for a period of three years. The bill in the House would have kept the higher sales tax rate and lowered personal and corporate income tax rates. Income taxes would have eventually been eliminated. Representative Richard Carlson, a St. Marys Republican, said lowering income tax rates would help spur economic growth in Kansas.Opponents of the legislation said lawmakers would be going back on a promise...

Stephen Koranda Thursday, March 17th

The Kansas House today (THUR) rejected a bill that would have made permanent last year’s sales tax increase. Last session, the Legislature increased the state sales tax from 5.3 to 6.3 percent, for a period of three years. The bill in the House would have kept the higher sales tax rate and lowered personal and corporate income tax rates. Representative Ann Mah (“maw”), a Topeka Democrat, said the sales tax increase should stay temporary.Supporters of the legislation said lowering the income tax rates would help spur economic growth in Kansas. The House also rejected a bill that would have...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 16th

The state Senate has voted to save the Kansas Arts Commission. The 24 to 13 vote overturns an executive order, signed by Governor Sam Brownback, which would have replaced the Arts Commission with a private foundation. Senator Roger Reitz ("rights"), a Manhattan Republican, lead the effort in the Senate to preserve the state-supported Commission.Supporters of the Arts Commission say eliminating the state agency would cost Kansas more than one million dollars in federal matching funds. The governor’s office said eliminating the Arts Commission would have saved the state around 600 thousand...

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, March 16th

Governor Sam Brownback has dropped his proposal to have the state attorney general’s office oversee the Kansas Human Rights Commission. Brownback has said the move would save around 230 thousand dollars. The commission offered a compromise - the organization would stay independent, but find ways to trim the 230 thousand dollars Brownback wanted from its 1.8 million dollar budget. Sherriene Jones-Sontag is the governor’s spokesperson.Critics were concerned that the commission would not be independent if it were part of a partisan office run by an elected official.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 15th

The Kansas House has given first approval to a bill that would cut 35 million dollars out of the current budget. Supporters of the bill say that’s needed to help with a projected budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. The legislation would also mean around 20 million dollars less for K through 12 education in Kansas. Representative Ed Trimmer, a Winfield Democrat, said that move would mean school districts would have to cut staff.The 20 million dollars taken from education would be put into special education funding. The move would stop Kansas from losing federal matching dollars that...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 15th

Kansas lawmakers are starting the long process of redrawing the state's congressional districts. Kansas has 4 seats in the U-S House of Representatives, which need to have similar populations. Douglas County is currently split between the 2nd and 3rd districts, but that could change. Joe Aistrup (“A-strup”, "EH-strup") is a political science professor at Kansas State University. He spoke with KPR’s Stephen Koranda. Aistrup says changing the 2nd Congressional District may change the political prospects of Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins. Aistrup says the city of Manhattan may be taken...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, March 15th

The Kansas House has given first approval to a bill that would cut 35 million dollars out of the current budget. Supporters of the bill say that’s needed to help with a projected budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. The legislation would also mean around 20 million dollars less for K through 12 education in Kansas. Representative Ed Trimmer, a Winfield Democrat, said that move would mean school districts would have to cut staff.The 20 million dollars taken from education would be put into special education funding. The move would stop Kansas from losing federal matching dollars that...

Stephen Koranda Monday, March 14th

Metals like aluminum and copper can be attractive items for thieves. Water pipes and air conditions are just two things thieves can steal, then turn in the metal for cash. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a Kansas Senate committee is considering new regulations aimed at combating metal thefts.

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